MESSAGE FROM SENATOR THE HON. DARCY BOYCEMINISTER IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTERWelcome to the seventh edition of the Barbados International Finance & Business magazine.Seven years on from the 2007/2008 global financial crisis, the world economy still remains relatively fragile, though prospects for growth in 2015, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's World Investment Report and the International Monetary Fund's October 2014 World Economic Outlook, are positive.The period following the crisis has been marked by increased competition among international financial centres (IFCs) and simultaneously, heightened scrutiny of IFCs by the G-20 and some international organisations. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD's) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project, as well as its MultilateralConvention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, have been introduced to redress `unfair' tax practices and tax evasion. These projects are the new standard bearersto enhance transparency in the rapidly changing, interconnected, global environment.We have also witnessed an increase, in some quarters, in the unfortunate labelling of IFCs as facilitators of tax evasion and money laundering. More recently, however, a growing body of empirical studies has emerged suggesting the opposite. Some studies document the vital contribution that IFCs make to the global financial system and their importantrole as conduits of much needed liquidity. Further, others have posited that a number of IFCs have better regulatory and compliance processes than some developed countries. The key watchwords for IFCs will therefore continue to be transparency, quality, innovation, regulation and reputation.Barbados has always prided itself on implementing best practices, and its reputation continues to be anchored on the tenets of stability and consistency, even in the face of the rapidly changing regulatory environment. The maintenance and promotion of Barbados as a compliant, transparent and well-regulated jurisdiction is pivotal to our success.That is part of the reason why we continue to seek opportunities to highlight the integrity and interests of small IFCs like Barbados. During 2014, Barbados successfully hosted its inaugural conference on IFCs themed, IFCs in a Borderless Digital Economy. The forum acknowledged the contribution of IFCs to sustainable globaldevelopment, and drew attention to the need for representation of the interests of small IFCs at forums that develop and implement international tax initiatives.In October 2014, Barbados welcomed the opportunity to serve as a member and Vice Chair of the OECD's Global Forum Steering Committee. Involvement in this forum provides an opportunity to make a contribution to the strategic direction of the world's most influential body responsible for international tax transparency, and whose decisions affect not only Barbados, but the wider Caribbean Community, as well as IFCs generally.Barbados intends to continue to enhance its appeal as a preferred IFC. In this regard, efforts to expand our network of double tax and bilateral investment agreements will be accelerated. We will also become signatories to the Multinational Convention on Exchange of Tax Information and, where necessary, conclude Tax Information Exchange Agreements with specific countries. Focus will be directed towards the conclusion of treaties with countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America, as well as in key African nations.Our intention to become the pre-eminent international financial centre in the Western Hemisphere recognises that the establishment of an international trading floor in our stock exchange is necessary. We confidently expect to launch this initiative shortly. In like manner, the establishment of analternative dispute resolution centre is being actively pursued.Government is fully committed to introducing relevant innovative products, and to nurturing a responsive, efficient business environment. We look forward to attracting increased levels of foreign direct investment and to enhancing the competitive advantage of global investors.Senator The Hon. Darcy BoyceMinister in the Office of the Prime Minister2015 BARBADOS INTERNATIONAL FINANCE & BUSINESS 5
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